One of the big decisions you make as a new  

veteran is where to live. If you’re starting a new 

job or enrolling in school, you have a good sense of 

where you’ll be. So the question is whether to rent 

or buy. Renting has some advantages, especially if 

you expect to move again within a few years. It’s 

often cheaper, and you don’t have to worry about 

finding a buyer when you’re ready to move.

On the other hand, if you plan to settle in  

a community for the foreseeable future, buying 

could be a good decision for both financial and 

personal reasons. And, as a veteran, you can  

usually take advantage of the VA home loan  

program to help make buying more affordable. 


The VA guaranty helps veterans and active  

duty servicemembers find mortgage loans 

by protecting lenders against the possibility 

a borrower will default. Specifically, the VA 

promises repayment of a minimum of 25% of 

the loan amount, with higher percentages 

covered for smaller loans.

The VA sets a maximum on the amount it 

will guarantee on a loan, though technically 

not the amount of the loan. The amount in 

each case is determined by the state and 

county in which the property is located. You 

can find these caps, which may be reset 

annually, by searching for “county loan  

limits” at 

While the VA home loan program has 

made it possible for more than 19 million 

people to buy homes, it doesn’t ensure that 

all eligible veterans will be able to find a 

mortgage loan or borrow as much as they 

need to buy the properties they want.


To qualify for a VA loan guaranty under 

the home loan program, you must have a 

Certificate of Eligibility (COE), which you 

can obtain at, and meet  

certain other requirements:

  You must have good credit, as well as  

enough income to afford mortgage payments, 

maintain the property, and cover your needs 

and the needs of your family

  The purchase price can’t be more than the 

appraised value of the home as determined  

by a VA appraiser

  You must certify you’ll  

occupy the home

Buying a Home

A VA loan guaranty can provide the key to your new home.



 The VA will guarantee a  

minimum of 25% of the loan

 No cash down payment 


 Limit on closing costs

 No private mortgage  

insurance (PMI) required

 No prepayment penalty

 Financial counseling  

is available

veterans HanDBOOK